Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Commission finds prevailing factor with degenerative knee

 A worker in 2009 hyper-extended his knee while pushing a tub.  The Commission affirmed an award of partial disability benefits to the knee and future medical for total knee replacement.   Gladish v Enersys, 2015 MO WCLR Lexis 18  (Feb. 24, 2015).  

Claimant is 270 pound make in his 50s.  He initially had an arthroscopy which did not help and sought further treatment.    He had some limited treatment for his knee before the accident.  It is somewhat unclear whether this was fully disclosed in records to his providers.

The employer disputed accident but offered no evidence to dispute claimant's testimony how the accident occurred.  Claimant prior to the accident had been referred to an orthopedic surgeon for knee pain and had x-ray evidence of degenerative osteoarthritis.  The commission concluded the accident was the prevailing factor because claimant's prior condition was not disabling resulting in lost time or resulting in medical restrictions.  The Commission ultimately concluded the need for treatment including a total knee replacement flowed from the accident.  The Commission found claimant established prevailing factor making symptomatic a pre-existing arthritic condition. 

The Commission noted that the claimant could rely upon an expert to testify who was not licensed in Missouri and the employer had waived any objection by stipulating to the doctor's qualifications.